Expression Analysis of Escherichia coli Growing on Minimal and Rich Media

November, 1999

DNA arrays of the entire set of Escherichia coli genes were used to measure the genomic expression patterns of cells growing in late logarithmic phase on minimal glucose medium and on Luria broth containing glucose. Ratios of the transcript levels for all 4290 E. coli protein encoding genes (cds) were obtained and analysis of the expression ratio data indicated that the physiological state of the cells in the two growth conditions could be ascertained. The cells in the rich medium grew faster, and expression of the majority of the translation apparatus genes was significantly elevated under this growth condition, consistent with known patterns of growth rate dependent regulation and increased rate of protein synthesis in rapidly growing cells. The cells grown on minimal medium showed significantly elevated expression of many genes involved in biosynthesis of building blocks, most notably the amino acid biosynthetic pathways. Nearly half of the known RpoS dependent genes were expressed at significantly higher levels in minimal medium compared to rich medium, and rpoS expression was similarly elevated. The role of RpoS regulation in these logarithmic phase cells was suggested by the functions of the RpoS dependent genes that were induced. The hallmark feature of E. coli cells growing on glucose minimal medium appeared to be the formation and excretion of acetate, metabolism of the acetate, and protection of the cells from acid stress. A hypothesis invoking RpoS and UspA (universal stress protein, also significantly elevated in minimal glucose medium) as playing a role in coordinating these various aspects and consequences of glucose and acetate metabolism was generated. This experiment demonstrates that genomic expression assays can be applied in a meaningful way to the study of whole-bacterial cell physiology for generation of hypotheses and as a guide for more detailed studies of particular genes of interest.

Tao et al., 1999 J. Bact., 181:6425-40 (PDF)

Minimal vs. Rich Media Experimental Data Set (Requires Excel 4MB)

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